Sunday, October 10, 2021

When You Need to Just Stretch

At our age my husband and I realize that life has many twists and turns. He has received a probable medical diagnosis that we sadly anticipated.  We will shoulder on until the specialist appointment which can only happen a month from now confirms our path ahead.  My medical diagnosis for the idiopathic cough is still that and my specialist appointment with another doctor is in early December!  Don't you love the American health care system?  My cough is retreating as the medicine I am taking is increasing in dose.  I HATE pharmaceuticals...but I accept their necessity and ignore the side effects.

Anyway, we both said "screw it" and loaded the canoe onto the big car, and headed to the Eastern shore for four days of meditative walking and canoeing.  We are so lucky to still be agile.  The weather was super cooperative and even a little too warm in the sunny afternoons.  So we stretched our muscles.

We crossed the big bridge and saw barges full of stuff we have ordered sitting in the center of the water highway waiting for a pilot or a go-ahead.  Your order will arrive a little late today.  There were plenty of recreational boaters zipping along as well.

We crossed several small bridges in our exploration.  Bridges that have recognition in this low land part of the world and are so important to those that live here.

What we were looking for were peace and no agenda.  What a lovely time.  What perfect cooperation from Mother Nature. What a great distraction.

This is the land of hard-working people.  People who have rarely found change a good thing.  They want to be left alone.  They rise early in the mornings to work the water or tend to their small crops or get ready for church.  The water is rising but they do not believe in climate change.  Their savior was Trump and they are angry he was not re-elected even though he gave them nothing the last four years.

And plunked right in the middle of this wild country is a more liberal treasure of history.  It is a beautiful small museum with lots of interesting facts about this marvelous leader who single-handedly saved over 70 individuals from a treacherous life.  We did not follow the path of the "Underground Railroad"  by automobile but did explore this museum slowly and with interest.

My next post I will take you on a canoe trip to where the wild things are.

Monday, September 06, 2021


As most of my readers know, my chronic cough returned after only a 5-week respite. I did enjoy sleeping through the night and feeling free to go anywhere and talk to anyone. New meds may be reducing the cough, but since this started back in January 2020 and I have been on a multi-pack of various meds I am not keeping my hopes too high regarding this new regimen.  Well enough of that!

Fall is here.  I saw it coming in the angle of the morning light and then the day after Ida passed (and thankfully missed us) the weather turned to cool and dryer mornings.  Mid-day can get quite warm, but it sure feels like autumn.

The delicate skirts of Ida.

Above is our Verbena (Black Haw) with the flowers all gone and seed for the birds beginning to ripen. Soon they will turn dark bluish and the leaves will be the color of wine.

I have reached the age where I think often of the passage of time, my connections with others, my growing irrelevance, and how hard I have to work to stay healthy.  While my husband's allergy to mammal meat is on the wane, we still eat mostly fish and fowl.  We have tons of vegetables from the garden and fruit is readily (if not cheaply) available in the store.  Hubby has been told to cut back on sweets (originally by me) but now by the blood data.  I love dessert but can get by with a small piece after meals.  Hubby thinks that pies should be cut into quarters!

Salmon with mustard sauce on arugula.

Kaffir lime leaves from our tree for soups.  We even took a large bag to the local Thai restaurant.

A few kaffir limes from the tree after pruning.  Perfect for our seafood.

So many tomatoes that I now broil them! (Sorry for the blur.)

I also try to keep up a small bit of exercise with free weights and my elliptical work, about three times a week.  I should up it, but it is sooooo boring.

I do miss making a contribution to something or other.  While I do some volunteer work with master gardeners, it is on my own at home, and due to both COVID and my cough, I have little contact with others.  I see my grandkids and my children maybe once every other month.  Their lives are super busy, as they should be.  I might like to work with elementary school children, once everyone is vaccinated...if I am still living then!

My next post will be a perspective on being the recipient of a clean house, rather than cleaning it myself.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Hearing Hornets

I was just settling in for an afternoon nap when there was a war of hornets filling the air.  It was not real hornets, of course, but the activity of my neighbor Martha Stewart.  I have written before about this woman who moved in next door.  I call her Martha Stewart because she had a gardening show on television, she owns a huge farm, she has lots of money.  She is a lovely lady and has the stature and face of Jane Fonda or Diane Rehm.  She has the presence of a woman who knows she owns the room but realizes kindness gets more done.  She also has enough power in this small county to get around most environmental regulations.  She is continually cutting trees so that her view of the water is unimpeded and the view from the road shows off her Southern-style mansion.

There are two types of people on the water.  Those that try to avoid damaging nature as much as possible and those that believe they can mold nature to mankind's desires.  She is the second.

If you look closely (click on the photo) you can see the man on the left of the photo hanging from safety ropes and the man on the far right is in the bucket.  They have stripped the trees of all their lower branches, which I understand is legal so that she can finally have a view from her million-dollar house.  We do get some great sunsets and now she can see them without having to go down to her dock like I do.  I just cannot help but think this is hard on the trees.  They lose a third of their food-making machines.

The chain saws buzz and buzz and buzz and give me a headache!  It is like a battle of the hornets.  I will get some interesting sun angles against those naked trees for photography on the lighter side as I look from my deck I am thinking.

Above is our house.  We can see the water from our deck, but it is through some natural bare areas that we had when we bought the house and we do keep them clear so that we can watch the boat during stormy weather and so that we have a clear path to our dock.  We pile rocks to keep the waves from destroying the natural grasses rather than drop a wall of rock along the shore as many do.  Do I sound a little snooty?  Sorry, but I am old and am set in my ways.

If trees fall into the river we are required by law to leave them there unless they present a navigation issue.  She does not own a boat and is also removing a fallen tree on the opposite side of her dock.  This means habitat loss for our fish and shellfish.  But it is so hard for people to see the big picture.

I think you deserve a sunset picture or two after all my ranting.  (The buzzing has stopped!!!)

Hope you have a healthy week without COVID, fires, storms or flooding.

Thursday, August 05, 2021


I have been thinking about Blogging.  Thinking...thinking...thinking. I have been away for over a month and missed the lives of those I love to read about.  And I have had issues that I felt were interesting and important to blog about: family, climate, flu, old age.  But each time I wanted to start my writing something interrupted me making it so much easier to procrastinate for a few more days.

Also, after the fifth regimen of new medicine, I have failed to stop the cough that interrupts my life about 10 times a day and three times each night.  I have not reached true depression, but I am discouraged and short of temper.  Who knows,  all these new medicines may be causing mood swings.  I had a 6-7 week reprieve and thought it was all over and I was so happy...until.

My family visits have increased a little now that most are vaccinated.  The only one that we continue to protect is the 10-year-old who cannot get the vaccine yet.  I am so praying they find it safe for him by fall.  He had a light version of Covid last winter so he does have some resistance.

Lets us talk about food.  We are into blue crab season and that makes life a little more fun.  We are into fresh tomato season and that means that something fresh is always in a salad or soup.  We went with my son and his wife to pick blackberries and peaches last weekend.  (Peaches are my favorite fruit.)  East Coast peaches cannot compete with Colorado peaches but I still love both.  We could only stay a short while before the skies opened in torrential rain.  We got soaked.  My tennis shoes sloshed and my clothes stuck to my back and sides.  We ate lunch outside in a small restaurant.  The AC inside would have frozen us into a nasty cold.

Hubby and son picking blackberries.  The red-winged blackbirds sang to us with their trill whistle all afternoon.

Store refrigerator biscuits and sweetened blackberries with butter and cinnamon were our quick dessert that evening.

 And these were the peaches leftover after we ate our fill.  I washed, blanched, removed skins and after a quick dip in lemon water, they went into freezer bags for another day.

Well enough catch-up because I have to read some blogs and start dinner!  Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Taking Sides

I have slowly been drawn into various gardening, native plant, and insect groups on Facebook. Some of them are run by Native Nazis, but most are monitored by people who just want to spread environmental knowledge.

One woman had started a native planting under her mailbox.  She was proud of the plants coming up even though it was sparse.  While she was gone one day, her neighbor mowed the area and mowed all the plants down!  She went to him and was pretty angry and so was he.

My first reaction was that this was just a kind gesture by the neighbor and that he accidentally mowed down what he thought were weeds while doing a neighborly gesture.  I suggested that she try and calm the waters (you don't want a war with someone next door) and tell him about the virtues of natives and offer to help him plant some.  If he was still angry, then avoid him.

Everyone else on the list said that he was an idiot, deserved what she did, and even some said she should call the police for trespassing.  ( I am sure the police have plenty to do with 50 gun deaths alone in the U.S. over the 4th of July weekend.)

A few were wise in telling her to put around some boulders for a border edging or a small fence and also a sign telling people what they were.

I guess my question to my readers is am I a pansy?  Was my advice wrong?  Can't we all just get along?

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Dagnabbit! It wasn't a Rabbit!

My prior post was done without too much enthusiasm. Exhausted from the trip and proud of myself for actually taking it during the "wane" of the pandemic.  YES...that must have been a kangaroo and not a rabbit, and I am thankful for discerning readers.  It was hot and I was tired and when I visited the flower show website I was sad to see that while we visited most of the campus, we missed a bunch of stuff!  Oh well.

Still wearing masks here, although most of the stores now have signs that say if you are vaccinated, the mask-wearing is optional.  I wear them much of the time, but this heat does make me less careful.  Also WHO said even vaccinated people should wear masks and distance with the new DELTA variant running rampant across the globe.  I am reading "The Premonition, a Pandemic Story" by Michael Lewis.  It certainly tells the story of how hard researchers work and how stupid the government bureaucratic process is.  Brought back memories of incidents that I encountered when working as a Fed.  Of course,  my work did not impact lives to any extent.  Our Center for Disease Control is sadly crippled.

My cough has returned...ever so slightly.  I have been monitoring it for a week and going back on the proton pump inhibitor (which sounds like a mechanical device, right?).  I will email my specialist who is an hour's drive away and see what is going on and what we do from here.

I finally contracted with a cleaning service this week.  I helped my mother clean her house starting at 10-years-old and except for the 2 years in Indonesia where I had a maid, cook, and night watchman, I have been the cleaner of my various abodes for decades.  I am just tired of vacuuming, mopping, and dusting an almost 3,000 square foot house, and I have let great corners get covered in spider webs and dust.  It is a VERY expensive service and the lady said that I could change my bi-weekly schedule to a monthly schedule down the road if I felt it was overkill with just two old folks living in the house.  I will also have to adjust to having a stranger poke through my nooks and crannies, although they did say they try to send the same person each time.  

My garden is blooming in all its glory just before the oven days start.  I will post photos on my other blog.  

Grandkids arrived for just a few hours on Sunday squeezing in their precious limited free time to visit us!  I am so blest!  Hope your weekend is cool, comfortable, and full of love.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

A Giant Bunny!

The day is lovely. Waters are calm and weather is actually very cool for mid-June in the mid-Atlantic. I am not a big boating person, but hubby is and so for this week I said we should take the boat out and spend the day on the water. He seemed thrilled. He had only been out a few times weeks ago and on his own. Well, I packed two small coolers with cold chicken, crackers and cheese, fresh fruit and carrot sticks and cold drinks. We made two trips to the dock to bring everything down. Then when Hubby tried to start the boat, the batteries were dead. He has a small solar panel attached to the batteries since we only use the boat about 8 times a year. Well the wires seem to have been loose and now Hubby is down at the dock trying to see if he can get a charge going and then run the boat in place and maybe we can go out tomorrow. I am hoping this calm spring-like weather holds! 

So now photos of the more unique items at the Philadelphia Flower Show for those who asked.
Above can you see the hummingbird on the left?
Above a hammock made of succulents. This one had me intrigued and I was wondering if I could do something similar. Would I have to protect it during the winter?
A ten-foot bunny!! Close-ups below. All of it is made from plants and botanical material.
Thanks for stopping by on this beautiful summer morning!